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The Best (Looking) Wood-Burning Stoves

I have lived in my 1930's detached house in Surrey for over 20 years and it's always been cold in the winter. I had an open fire but it was very small and didn't throw out much heat, so a few years back I decided to invest in a wood-burning stove. I didn't have a lot of money, so I did it on a shoestring - not one of my better ideas, but it worked ok for around six years until I decided to get it swept (I know...) I then discovered that it had been put in so close to the front of the chimney, there was nowhere for the brushes to go and it couldn't be cleaned. I was also told that if I had a chimney fire, my house insurance wouldn't be covered - I'm not sure about this, but it frightened me sufficiently to remedy the problem, which was when I found out that the fireplace itself had been made smaller in the 1970's when the owners before me installed one of those lovely fake stone surrounds which stretched across the whole wall with a gas fire and lovely little niches for ornaments. So obviously they had created an internal wall at the back. So I had the wall taken out and whaddya know? The fireplace was much bigger, the stove could be moved back so it sat better in the fireplace and a flue could go up the chimney - and I could have it cleaned. It cost me as much as it cost to put it in originally, but at least I knew it was safe.

What's not to love about a log burner? They are beautiful to look at and they are efficient, unlike an open fire, where a lot of heat is lost up the chimney. But you must use seasoned or kiln-dried logs, damp logs won't burn and more importantly create small particle air pollution which is dangerous to health. There has been a lot of controversy over this so read up on the pros and cons, especially if you live in a big city. There are stoves that are DEFRA exempt which cures the problem. I have written about this in more depth in a feature for you can read about it here which also includes information on wood pellet stoves.

There aren't a huge number of stove manufacturers around but I have gathered some images of favourites of mine, so I hope you like them too.

First up is the Farringdon in Spice from Arada, isn't that colour stunning? It's a great way of introducing colour to your room in a different way. It's on a pedestal, so it's raised up for easier log loading.

Personally I am not sure a traditional wood burner like this works in a contemporary space, but it does show a different model with a taller shape that could heat a large space and it has a wood store beneath. This is the Milan from Chesneys.

And this is mine, in the new, deeper fireplace. This is the Shoreditch, also from Chesneys which is neat and certainly does the job in my room. Please excuse offcut rug, I meant to remove that, its just there to stop sparks damaging the carpet. Actually the whole shot is a bit rubbish for an interior stylist....sorry about that! Must try harder.....

This is more like it. I think this stove in this setting is pretty perfect. I love the finish on this stove from Charnwood, manufactured on the jolly old Isle of Wight don't you know. And the rustic setting sets it off perfectly. This is the Island II model.

It also comes in cream, below, which I really like too.

For a modern look, I don't think you can beat an insert model, this is 5660 from Morso. It's neat, sleek and sophisticated and a clever builder has built a modern log store next to it, although I do think he could have chosen prettier logs, or sanded or painted the ends of the logs to be more aesthetically pleasing...shoddy. I have developed a bit of a thing about logs.....

Another modern look in a different style which sets off this contemporary room. This bigger stove is the Bay BX from Charnwood The concrete plinth and back looks fantastic and it's the perfect accompaniment to the aggregate wall above - I'm guessing here, I don't know what it's made from but it looks cool. Pretty logs too.

This design, also from Arada would work in a contemporary or traditional home, it's an unfussy style and the black finish gives it an industrial vibe, there is also a handy recess below for kindling. Now that's what you call a log store....I am pretty sure they have been hand-picked for their shape and style, must have taken ages to stack them.

This tall, slimline Sirius stove from Schiedel is ideal for a small space and would tuck neatly into a corner or alcove. It's also DEFRA approved for use in smoke controlled areas, so no worries if you live in the city.

And finally a really cosy shot to warm your cockles. This is the Wychwood from ACR stoves. It is EcoDesign Ready and DEFRA exempt. I like the way they have built log stores for either side that double up as side tables.


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